Deuteronomy Chapter 1
This isn't the law of Moses but the law of God. It was the law that showed us the difference between evil and good. It showed us that this same law had the power to condemn our souls to an eternity in hell because all mankind except for innocent infants would have broken this law in one point or another. It shows us also that it was impossible to keep and we needed a savior, we needed mercy from a loving God and we needed the power to overcome the sin that was separating us from God. This law was the schoolmaster to bring us to a savior provided by God at the right time and the right place.
Notice that God first brought Israel out of bondage in Egypt. Egypt was a country filled with idolatry and false religion that could never save anyone from sin or reconcile anyone back to God. Egypt represents sin and separation from God. By a mighty hand of God, Israel and any who would believe and go with them, escaped Egypt and dwelled for a season in the wilderness.
Now they needed to know how to live. They were delivered in the flesh but they needed to be saved from sin.
As believers in Christ once we come to Christ for forgiveness of sins and we are cleansed from the sin that was separating us from God, but now we need to know how to live. We need some direction. That is why God provided us with faithful apostles, teachers and the written word to guide us so that we can mature in Christ and bring the gospel to the entire world.
Israel needed to know God's commandments and how to live once they escaped bondage. They had lived among idolatry and evil so long that they needed direction. God was going to provide them a savior from that sin and bondage but first He had to give them the law so that they would understand how much they would need a savior a perfect person that could keep the law in all points yet without sin.
Christ is the only one to not only keep the law perfectly without sin but also fulfill the law so that one can repent of sin and come to Him for salvation. Once we believe and come to Christ, He gives us the living water of the Holy Spirit so that we can overcome sin and inherit eternal life that God intended all of us to have from the day He created us. We have the free will to choose whether or not to turn from sin and believe in the savior He provided but it is God's will that all will be saved and delivered from our lost condition.
In order for us to understand fully what Jesus did for us, we need to study the law and see how serious sin was and why Jesus had to pay the price for our breaking the law.
They had to wait for God's timing the same as we do today.
This land was already theirs. It was promised to Abraham first and then to his descendents. They didn't possess the land but had to wait and believe in the hope that their descendents would possess it.
No one in this modern age, whether it is European nations or the mighty United States has any right to take that promise away from Israel. God gave the land to them and only God can take it away which He did temporarily in 70 AD after they rejected Christ but they regained part of it in 1948. They still do not have all the land promised to them.
We see from this that they had to set up rulers and wise men, not to lord over and control but to lead. This is not a hierarchy with titles and such to exalt one person over another but it was a service, a duty and a way to keep out trouble and lead the people in the right direction.
Not all of us are gifted for leadership. A leader cannot be a proud, self-righteous, dictator but one who sees his own weakness and has to rely on God to guide him. He cannot be afraid to stand up for what is right against troublemakers but he must be humble in the sight of God and realize that without His strength he is nothing.
Even today we need judges who are fair, honest, do not take bribes and will not be swayed by someone's standing in society or his wealth.
If a judge does this, he is a good judge indeed. Respect of persons is one thing God hates. In the book of James, he mentions this also for Christians.
God does not respect persons. The above scriptures in the book of James are speaking of religious leadership but it can also apply to the secular, the judges, the leaders of government.
God will judge the rich the same as the poor. Male the same as female.
God waited until the evil of the Amorites had gotten to a point of no return. Just like in the days of Noah's flood the evil had gotten so bad, total destruction was the only way to stop it.
Now is the day of grace. God has given us the gospel to turn men from sin and back to God. We live in a day when people are rejecting the gospel and turning back to their sins. Some try to claim Christ and keep sin but that does not work. The day of grace my soon be coming to an end. We must not trample upon God's grace and try to use it as a license to sin. Grace comes to us to bring us out of sin not forgive us in our sin. Sin separates from God. We need to be saved from sin. That is why Jesus came the first time. The second time is to deliver His people that believed in Him and then bring judgment, set up His everlasting kingdom and usher in righteousness.
God knows what He was doing in that He gave them a good land that would produce food and provide for His people. They a commandment to cast out the evil ones that dwelt in that land. The reason is that they had sinned to the point where they could not repent.
Unless some of the readers would find fault with God here we must understand what people did that turned the heart of God against them:
Children were made to pass through the fire. Enemies where made slaves and treated cruelly. False gods were used to cause people to fear and kept them into bondage with no hope of salvation. This would have continued and gotten worse if God had not allowed Israel to stop them.
They lost their faith. They forgot the deliverance from Israel. They forgot the crossing of the Red Sea, they forgot the manna in the wilderness and went into unbelief even desiring to return to Egypt as slaves.
Some today desire to keep their sins and be in bondage to sin rather than be free and walk in the newness of life provided for by true faith in Jesus Christ. Faith is the key to keeping on and not quitting. Only two of the spies trusted God and were allowed to enter into the promised land. The other ten went into unbelief and caused the whole tribe of Israel to have to wait 40 years so that the older ones died off except Joshua and Caleb. Unbelief leads to all the other sins that defile the flesh. Faith is important. It is faith that actually causes a soul to be saved or lost. Faith in Christ saves. The loss of that faith will destroy the soul. Unbelief caused a whole generation to miss the promise land.
This shows us the difference between those that reject Christ which is usually a majority and those that receive Christ which is a small number compared to those that are lost.
Murmuring and complaining is one of the first signs of unbelief and backsliding away from God.
Israel could never have defeated those large giants on their own but with God they could have been defeated and only by the power of God could they overcome them. Just like today, we cannot overcome sin in our own strength and willpower. We need the power of God that is given to us through His Son, Jesus Christ. Sons of Anakims were very large powerful men.
They missed out and lost the promised land because of unbelief. Yet when they realized what they had done, they quickly tried to fight in their own strength but could not. Once God departs from us, we cannot go it alone. We will fail every time. Just like Samson who didn't know he had lost his strength until it was too late, sometimes we can get away from the will of God and become lukewarm in our walk without realizing it.
This was not genuine repentance from the depth of their souls or God might have had mercy and allowed them to enter in. They went in presumptuously and without the God on their side. They lost the battle because God was not with them. Genuine repentance causes the heart to change and accept the will of God. Had they been genuine, they would not have gone to fight without a commandment from the Lord. They would have accepted His judgment.
Repentance even today causes us to hear God. We want to know God and follow His commandments. True repentance will never cause us to do our own thing and still expect to make heaven our home after we have accept Christ as savior. I personally do not believe one can accept Christ as savior and not as Lord. Genuine repentance causes us to accept Him as Lord of our lives. True victory over sin comes when one repents or turns away from sin and turns his or her life over to Christ completely. This is not a halfway thing. We are either in or out, hot or cold. Lukewarmness does not cut it. The letter to the church in Laodicea in Revelation chapter 3 describes the danger of being lukewarm. I would compare a lukewarm Christian to the unbelieving Israelites in the wilderness. It led to sin, rebellion and defeat.